True friendship comes when silence between two people is comfortable. So said the slip of translucent paper, wrapped around a Bacci chocolate that a true friend bought for me in New York. I believe in the quote, and I suppose it means that my blog and I are now very faithful friends. It's true that Through the Looking Glass isn't exactly a flesh and bone person, but it's close enough for me to let such a saying fit the bill; we've been maintaining a rather comfortable silence for over a month. I hope that you, reader friends, buy into my excuse for not writing as well.
I walked a lot in New York, something I don't enjoy as much in most other places, where I'm not as anonymous, free to walk in straight avenue lines for miles, or satiated by the constant eye candy of brownstones, shops and shady Central Park paths. I crossed many of the same intersections more than once while I was there. Two weeks lends a good stretch of days for retracing steps and seeing a familiar spot again for the first time, and for stepping and observing in silence, and for seeing oneself for the first time again, too. That is what happened, and it was a mostly happy thing.
Distance from my Mexico routine and the comfortable ease of my old city-walking one shed some light on a subject I'd soon be reading about: happiness. Orhan Pamuk, who I later learned was walking the same city streets, teaching at Columbia and only weeks away from winning the Nobel prize, is the author of my subway-read, "Snow," where "happy," among others, was a very key word. His characters found it to be a very fleeting thing, tainted by a reluctant apprehension of its imminent disappearance.
I know what he's talking about. The volcanoes here are often like happiness for me. I would like nothing better than to see them clearly on any given day, there on the southern edge of the valley. Almost always hidden behind a bank of thickish smog, I can't help but think that we do so much to thwart our own efforts in the realization of joy. When an extraordinary day of clarity comes, and the city's buildings take on sharp relief underneath those volcanoes, an acute yet heavy happiness settles up in my throat. I can't get enough of that view. Literally. I know it will be gone again within a matter of hours.
But I also know it will happen again, sometime, when heading down into the city. It seems that retracing the same, familiar roads--of habit, of commute, of revisiting the places one loves and where loved-ones live--affords a certain offer of happiness, if we're patient enough to let it happen.
I'm silently going to let it. I won't let go of the idea that full happiness can be a true friend.